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Knoydart Foundation

Facts & Figures

Organisation Name

Knoydart Foundation

People Benefiting

The immediate community and visitors to the area.

Area Served

Most of the Knoydart peninsula (17,000 acres) in the West Highlands of Scotland.


120 approx.


The Foundation was established in 1997 and with the help of many supporters bought out the remains of the Knoydart estate in 1999.Since then it has created significant assets for the whole community and we have 11 properties which are rented out at affordable rents, support community development, operate a ranger service and provide support for tourists and visitors, run a hydro-electric scheme (no grid connection here) and other services, run a bunkhouse, operate a small shop, have a venison butchery business, lease land and buildings, and manage the wild deer herd. With the support of its trading subsidiaries, The Foundation has become largely financially self-sufficient, and is now looking towards its next series of developments.


Legal Form

A company limited by guarantee with charitable status: it has two trading subsidiaries, Knoydart Trading and Knoydart Renewables.

It has established a separate community interest company (Community Maintenance Company Knoydart) which is now an independent company in its own right, and in 2016 will establish another trading subsidiary to focus on merchandise and venison processing.


13 [KF - 8 KT – 4 KR – 2 ( some posts very part time)]

Earned Income

Initially supported by the lottery and HIE, the Foundation has become self sufficient for its day-to-day activities, but still seeks grants for capital improvements. Presently it has grant funding for local development officer whose activities cover the whole community and a grant from SNH towards its ranger service


§ eleven residential properties
§ several buildings leased to/used by the local community
§ a bunkhouse
§ a hydro-electric scheme
§ 17000 acres of land including small campsite.

Office space

Small community shop

Display room

Value of assets

1m plus

Roots & Links


The Foundation was established in 1997 in case the Knoydart Estate should be put on the market. In 1999 the Estate went into receivership and the community was able, with help from supporting organisations, to raise the funds to buy it. A Development Manager, Angela Williams, was appointed in 2001 and a growing range of projects have been implemented.


Membership is drawn from the community, and the Board of Directors includes five elected residents as well as appointed Directors from Highland Council, the Chris Brasher Trust and the John Muir Trust. We are currently looking to revise our constitution

The Foundation works to manage the Knoydart Estate and:
§ provides employment and training, and opportunities for settlement;
§ encourages the preservation of the landscape, wildlife, natural resources, culture and rural heritage;
§ fosters appreciation of, and supports access to, the peninsula;
§ improves the lives of all residents.

It has two trading subsidiaries, each with its own Board, Knoydart Trading and Knoydart Renewables – see ‘Delivers Services’ below for their activities.

Community Links

§ Knoydart Forest Trust

Community Maintenance Company Knoydart
§ Knoydart Arts Promotion
§ Knoydart Moorings Association

External Links

§ Community Energy Scotland
§ DTA Scotland – member of
§ Highland Council

§ HEBNET (community broadband covering small isles and knoydart)
§ Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)
§ Local People Leading – supporter of
§ Scottish Property Rural Business Association SLE
§ Voluntary Action Lochaber


Physical Hub

The Foundation’s office acts as a ‘mini-hub’ allowing residents to drop-by; offering office services, e.g. a photocopier; and providing information for residents and visitors alike.

Builds Local Capacity

See ‘Delivers Services’ below – in particular affordable housing, employment opportunities, leasing land/buildings and local development officer.

Delivers Services

Knoydart Foundation:
§ leases land and buildings to local people;
§ rents out affordable housing;
§ supports community development;
§ operates a ranger service;
§ provides support for tourists and visitors;
§ manages the wild deer herd;
§ works with Knoydart Forest Trust on woodland management; and
§ manages a local development officer
Knoydart Renewables: runs a hydro electric scheme fed by Loch Bhraomisaig – the community has no connection to the National Grid.
Knoydart Trading: runs the bunkhouse and sells merchandise through the shop. It also butchers and sells venison provided by the deer management activities.

Develops/Manages Services

see ‘Delivers Services’ above – for leasing land/buildings and affordable housing.

Main Achievements

1. Getting the hydro-electric scheme working efficiently: it needed significant refurbishment in the early 2000s, and as we’re not part of the National Grid it is crucial that it works well.

2. Improving local affordable housing … but there’s still lots to do.

3. Becoming financially sustainable.

4. Building 3 new rural homes for rent

5. Upgrading sewage and water scheme

6. Establishing a maintenance company to manage community assets

7. Establishing a butchers post to develop our venison products

What Next

Biggest Challenge

1.    Maintaining financial sustainability: it’s the nature of organisations like ours that we’re operating on a financial knife edge.  Things can happen that are unexpected and at anytime – that’s the vagaries of our work.

2.    Implementing the next series of projects: building a new bunkhouse; changing the old bunkhouse into housing; and converting a building into a conference and education centre to increase our earning potential.

Lesson Learned

1. Getting the right policies and paperwork in place: for instance, having the right policies on housing and having done a housing survey helped us become the only community organisation that was successful in getting funding via Rural Homes for Rent. We were able to demonstrate by showing our ‘audit trail’ that this wasn’t done on a whim but had involved considerable thought and preparation.

2. Keeping communication open across the community: keeping this going all the time and as open as you can make it. If you’ve clear policies and reasoning for your plans, even if some people don’t like or agree with them they can understand why it’s happening.


It’s fantastic to get to 15 years since buying the Estate.  Now we’re looking to improve and develop so that we’re here for our 100th anniversary!



Angela Williams


Development Manager

Address Line 1

Knoydart Foundation

Address Line 2

Inverie, by Mallaig


PH41 4PL


Western Isles


01687 462272